10 of the best Lake District bed and breakfast establishments
PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 August 2013 | UPDATED: 18:01 27 April 2016
Some of the classiest places to stay in the Lake District are bed and breakfasts.
Emma Mayoh picks out a few of her favourites
The old image of the dusty guest house with lights out at 10pm and swirly carpets that make you dizzy are, happily, a thing of the past. Many of today’s B&B operators now that discerning visitors to the Lake District want luxury and a tough of class.
The region has long been famous for its many five star hotels but the not-so-humble guest house is now starting to catch up with sopshisticated suites and antique furniture set in some architecturally striking buildings. There are too many to list, but this is a quick guide to a few of our favourites. If you’ve found one that we’ve missed, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to feature them in our next guide.
It took one look for Andrew and Louise Jones to fall in love with the dilapidated building in Windermere they have transformed into beautiful nine bedroom bed and breakfast, Rosemount. The couple, originally from the Midlands, moved to the area five years ago to open the business and set up a permanent home. They have certainly made the most of it. Andrew and Louise pride themselves on providing a homely environment for people to relax in during their stay. There are single and double rooms, a stunning four poster bed room and a family room. Breakfasts, again, like many bed and breakfasts, are made using local ingredients including Plumgarth’s Farm Shop, Kendal, Banerigg Farm in Windermere and coffee from The Fairground in Staveley.
If you want some time to pamper yourself, there is free access to the spa facilities at the Old England Hotel in Bowness for guests staying two nights or more. Louise and Andrew also still love to explore their adored Lake District with children Annabel and Emilia so are also on hand to advise on the best places to visit, walks to try or restaurants to eat in.
Rosemount, Lake Road, Windermere, LA23 2EQ. Tel: 015394 43739, lakedistrictguesthouse.com
Randy Pike, Ambleside
The Jumble Room restaurant in Grasmere has attracted a keen following and plenty of awards, including a Lancashire Life Food and Drink Award. Celebrity customers also enjoy the hospitality of Andy and Chrissy Hill - Sting is rumoured to dine here. The couple show the same quirk, character and flair at their own home, Randy Pike, located between Ambleside and Hawkshead. They have converted some of this former gentleman’s hunting lodge in the Wray Castle estate into three luxurious, award-winning suites for guests to enjoy a relaxing break. Inside you will find modern styling mixed with original features and the ample breakfast is locally sourced. Outside there are stunning views. Take a wander into the garden where you can spot a full size Doctor Who Tardis.
Randy Pike, Ambleside, LA22 0JP. Tel: 015394-36088, randypike.co.uk
Nanny Brow, Ambleside
Built in 1904 by renowned Arts and Crafts architect Francis Whitewell, current owners Sue and Peter Robinson have turned this house, perched on the steep side of Loughrigg Fell, into a luxurious bed and breakfast. In fact, Sue used to admire this very building on family holidays in the Lake District as a child.
The care, effort and attention to detail the couple have paid shines through. Original features including wood panelling, fireplaces and a handcrafted frieze, combined with incredible views across the River Brathay and Lakeland fells, make for a memorable stay.
Nanny Brow’s award-winning breakfast - including a full Lakeland breakfast, artisan breads and homemade drop scones - are the ideal fuel for walks in the fells which can be accessed directly from the house. If you prefer a more laid-back break you can soak up the views from the garden, enjoy a game of croquet or take a stroll through the private woodland.
Nanny Brow, Clappersgate, near Skelwith Bridge, Ambleside. LA22 9NF. Tel: 015394 33232, nannybrow.co.uk
Dome House, Bowness
Seeking out this architectural gem in the busy little town of Bowness is well worth the effort. Inside Dome House there are three luxurious suites to choose from where you can enjoy panoramic lake and mountain views. As well as stunning landscapes to look at, the suites have kitchens and dining rooms all kitted out with contemporary furniture. Guests get a welcome food hamper packed with local treats including South Lakes Organic Cheddar from Ulverston and jams and marmalades from Wigton-based preserves company Claire’s Handmade. There is also an indoor, solar-heated pool which can be booked and a self catering apartment available.
Dome House was created by Robert and Milla Gaukroger. The couple transformed a traditional property into this stunning modern design building. The couple’s achievements attracted the attention of Kevin McCloud and the project was featured on Channel 4 programme Grand Designs.
Dome House B & B, Brantfell Road, Bowness on Windermere, LA23 3AE. Tel: 015394 45667
Cote How Organic Guest House, Ambleside
With a list of awards for sustainability and high standards as long as the Kirkstone Pass, Cote How Organic Guest House in Rydal has become a popular choice with visitors to the Lake District. Not only is the traditional Lakeland building, which has parts dating back to medieval times, set in 14 acres of unspoilt grounds, it is also surrounded by superb views as well as having a long past that would delight history lovers.
The original Elizabethan house, built by a Manchester clothier Michael Benson, has served as a Sunday school, farm, a riding school and its current use as a guest house and tea room. There are three bedrooms to choose from, including the Rydal Suite, one of the oldest rooms in the house. It was once the studio of local artist Frederick Yates who painted the portrait of former American President, Woodrow Wilson, here. Guests receive afternoon tea on arrival and there is also a guest lounge, library and bar to use. Breakfast, served in a lovely, oak-beamed room, is organic and Fairtrade and includes Cumberland sausages and rare breed bacon. There are also options for vegetarians and vegans including tofu herb sausages and roasted potato and onion hash. Cote How is one of just a few Soil Association licensed bed and breakfasts in the country.
Cote How Organic Guest House, Rydal, Ambleside, LA22 9LW. Tel: 015394 32765.
Number 43, Arnside
The views across Morecambe Bay from this Arnside bed and breakfast are the star of the show. But the welcome, hospitality and style of Number 43 come a close second. Number 43’s success is down to Lesley Hornsby, a former National Trust employee, who also worked in the local food industry. Many of the people she met through the latter job were useful contacts as suppliers for the delicious breakfast served to her guests. Wild boar sausages and black pudding comes from Peter Gott’s Sillfield Farm, near Kendal. Sunday’s are extra decadent as breakfast is served with a glass of Buck’s Fizz.
The interiors of the renovated Victorian building are chic with a definite coastal influence. Six en-suite rooms are furnished with extra comfortable beds, designer fabrics, Herdwick wool carpets and Lloyd Loom furniture and two suites comes with extra luxuries including one with a double bath sited under a feature window and the other with a huge solid oak sleigh bed. Both come with binoculars so you can watch the wildlife.
Lesley’s efforts have been rewarded with a raft of accolades including Best Bed and Breakfast in England Award from Visit England as well as a Gold Winner from Enjoy England’s Awards for Excellence. No 43 also has five star status from Visit Britain and five star highly commended from the AA and those decadent breakfasts attracted awards from the AA and Visit Britain. Well worth a visit.
The Promenade, Arnside, LA5 0AA. Tel: 01524 762761, no43.org.uk
Yewfield in Hawkshead Hill is no ordinary bed and breakfast. The vegetarian hostelry, owned by former butcher Derek Hook, is an elegant country house set in 80 acres of woodland, pasture, orchards, its own tarn and ornamental gardens. Derek has used the winning formula from his other restaurant and cinema businesses including Zeffirellis and Fellini’s in Ambleside to create a fantastic place of retreat. He has also put his musical passions - he was once a drummer with band Sixty Minutes - to good use as Yewfield hosts classical music concerts featuring musicians from around the world. Keen walkers will also be keen to learn that a walk to Tarn Hows begins at Yewfield’s front door. Plush rooms come with Herdwick wool carpets and accredited oak panelling and luxury room, the Tower Suite, offers views of the Vale of Esthwaite, the tarn and Yewfield’s gardens. The lounge is also a good place to relax and soak up the views. The vegetarian breakfast is locally sourced and organic where possible and there are also self catering apartments available.
Yewfield, Hawkshead Hill, Hawkshead Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0PR. Tel: 015394 36765, yewfield.co.uk
Broomlands Luxury Country House Bed and Breakfast, Lorton
This elegant Victorian house in Lorton village ticks all the boxes for an ideal luxury break. Inherited antiques mix well with contemporary pieces and in the three bedrooms there is a choice of slipper baths, king size beds and handmade chocolates.
Breakfast and dinner (on request) is served in the dining room but the best views are reserved for the Garden Room. Here you can spot red squirrels and woodpeckers while enjoying the scenery of the surrounding gardens or you can have afternoon tea here. There is also bike storage for those exploring the area on two wheels and an Aga to dry any wet clothes from a day’s walking.
Broomlands, Lorton, Cumbria, CA13 9UL. Tel: 01900 85086
Broughton House, Grange-over-Sands
Relax by the fire, unwind reading a book or head out into the local countryside from Broughton House in Field Broughton, near Grange-over-Sands. This luxury, comfortable home from home, has stunning rooms furnished with contemporary pieces mixed with antiques. If you want to try something a bit different there is a traditional Mongolian yurt with adjoining cabin which has a twin bedroom, shower room and a kitchen.
Breakfasts are cooked in the Aga and use meat from Higginsons of Grange, eggs from the garden and home made bread as well as smoked salmon from Cartmel Valley. Picnic lunches and hampers are also available on request. You can enjoy a glass of Pimms or tea and scones in the garden or sit out on the deck and make used of the barbecue.
Broughton House, Field Broughton, Grange-over-Sands, LA11 6HN. Tel: 015395 36439, broughtonhousecartmel.co.uk
Howe Keld, Keswick
David and Valerie Fisher have recently spent half a million pounds extending Howe Keld creating a modern, elegant and spacious B&B near the centre of Keswick.
There’s a strong emphasis on sustainability and green and they’ve utilised some of the best local natural materials. The end result is a guest house which has been so widely admired it was included in the prestigious Alasdair Sawday guide.
The breakfast’s have received awards from the AA and Visit Britain. The emphasis is on local produce with home baked organic bread made from wholewheat flour ground at a local watermill.
Howe Keld, 5/7 The Heads, Keswick, CA12 5ES. Tel: 017687 72417